Document management is such an enormous subject that it is very difficult for any organization to effectively wrap its arms around the entire system and successfully improve it. However, the document is becoming more and more important from a regulatory and compliance perspective for business. Because of this, organizations of all sizes need to better understand and improve their document domain.

The problem
The problem with enterprise document management is that it is so immense; it becomes, for most organizations, a nightmare of stovepipes and fiefdoms. These create many stakeholders who rightfully feel that they are accountable and responsible for aspects of the domain, when they simply might not be.

This then drives the behavior of many people attempting to spend precious resources to improve their portion of enterprise document management, when they are either only sub-optimizing the end-to-end process or duplicating similar efforts elsewhere in the domain. This often happens when one part of document management doesn't know what the other part is doing.

When you have multiple entities, like sales, operations, mailrooms, marketing, security, technology, records management, social media, content management, etc., all operating independently in the space, the organization isn't going to move forward on improving document management without strong direction.

Want to know how to build the document strategy? Submit your questions here, and John will answer your questions in a special Q&A!

Enterprise document strategy
A document strategy is different than most strategies in two major ways, which can make it even more difficult to create and implement. The enterprise document strategy is:
  • Completely aligned to support the enterprise strategy versus individual organizational strategies
  • Spans the end-to-end document domain, and in so doing, normally spans multiple organizations
Traditionally, 70% of all strategies fail to achieve desired results. However, because of the two key aspects above, document strategies are even more difficult to create and implement successfully.

All strategies, in themselves, fail due to a lacking in one or more of these five areas:

1. Executable Focus
2. Strategic Framework
3. Traceable Implementation
4. Rigor and Accountability
5. Communication

The enterprise document strategy is subordinate to your organization's overarching strategy. Additional to these five previous things, this type of strategy, more than any other, must be completely aligned to support the overarching organizational strategy. However, the strategy is normally not subordinate to any other stakeholder's strategy, and this generates a problem because it must support everyone from the business to the back office. Basically, your document strategy will end up serving many masters but must also be the controlling document for document management. Difficult you say?

Strategy inherently means change—seldom do we build a strategy and strategic plan simply to maintain the status quo. By their nature, strategies drive changes in your organization. As you can imagine, in an area like document management where there are so many stakeholders, change can become very disruptive and difficult. Thus, one of the biggest roadblocks to your enterprise document strategy will be people.

Why a document strategy?
Inherently, all strategic plans, regardless of type, encourage the following for any organization:
  • They provide direction
  • Improve performance
  • Deliver high-quality services
  • Optimize resource allocation
  • Comply with accreditation and regulatory requirements
  • Maximize chances for operational success
You may have heard the statement, "failing to plan is planning to fail." Essentially, choosing to not develop a strategy for your end-to-end document management effort is basically like saying out loud that it isn't important for your document domain to succeed.

You might be asking yourself right about now, not why, but why not a document strategy? The answer really is that simple.

The bottom line
All organizations want to be successful. However, documents of all types travel through the arteries of your organization often unnoticed in such a way that many are oblivious. Today, these documents have become extremely important to your operation and disinterest in them to this point makes business far more difficult than it has to be. Without a strong focus on document management, an organization will not be fully successful.

Your organization must sit down and get a grip on its end-to-end document management. Like many others, you could jump in and simply start turning wrenches on every little problem you find, but this simply won't work. You need to step back and consciously think about and develop an end-to-end enterprise document strategy.

This is a special monthly blog in partnership with the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum. For more information on how to build the document strategy or on attending the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum, email or call 866-378-4991.

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